Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis

Diverticulitis
Diverticulitis occurs when diverticula (small, bulging pouches in the digestive tract) become infected or inflamed. Some signs of diverticulitis include severe pain, bloating that persists for weeks, constipation and blood in your stool. Treatment includes changes in diet, antibiotics and surgery.

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    A answered
    Once colon pockets have developed in the colon there is no guaranteed way to prevent rare future complications from occurring. However, increasing dietary fiber and taking a fiber supplement is the best way to help reduce the likelihood of future problems.

    In those patients who are having repeated cases of diverticulitis or bleeding, surgery to remove the affected part of the colon is usually recommended.
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    The symptoms of diverticulosis and diverticulitis are different.

    Diverticulosis: Many people don't have symptoms, but some people have cramping, bloating, and constipation. Some people also have bleeding, inflammation, and fistulas. If you are bleeding, bright red blood will pass through your rectum-the end of the colon that connects to the anus. The rectum and anus are part of the gastrointestinal tract, which is the passage that food goes through. Rectal bleeding is usually painless, but it can be dangerous. You should see a doctor right away.

    Diverticulitis: People with diverticulitis can have many symptoms. Often, pain is felt in the lower part of the abdomen. If you have diverticulitis, you may have fevers, feel sick to your stomach, vomit, or have a change in your bowel habits.

    This answer is based on source information from the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.

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    Your risk for diverticular disease, or diverticulosis, increases as you age. In the U.S., about 60% of people will have diverticulosis by age 60. Studies have shown obesity, smoking and a diet high in fats and red meat to be associated with diverticular disease. Vigorous physical activity and a high fiber diet may protect us from this problem.
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    Because diverticulosis is uncommon in regions of the world where diets are high in fiber and rich in grains, fruits and vegetables, most doctors believe this condition is due in part to a diet low in fiber. A low-fiber diet leads to constipation, which increases pressure within the digestive tract with straining during bowel movements. The combination of pressure and straining over many years likely leads to diverticulosis.
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    Complications of diverticulitis can include complete colon perforation, fistulas (tunnels) to the bladder or vagina, and narrowing or blockage of the intestine. Surgery is almost always required in these serious cases.

    Bleeding typically does not occur with diverticulitis but can occur from one of the non-inflamed pockets (diverticulosis). Most bleeding from diverticulosis stops on its own, but blood transfusions and surgery are sometimes required.
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    Diverticulosis may lead to several complications including inflammation, infection, bleeding or intestinal blockage. Fortunately, diverticulosis does not lead to cancer.

    Diverticulitis occurs when the pouches become infected or inflamed. This condition usually produces localized abdominal pain, tenderness to touch and fever. A person with diverticulitis may also experience nausea vomiting, shaking, chills or constipation. Your doctor may order a computed tomography (CT) scan to confirm a diagnosis of diverticulitis. Minor cases of infection are usually treated with oral antibiotics and do not require admission to the hospital. If left untreated, diverticulitis may lead to a collection of pus (called an abscess) outside the colon wall or a generalized infection in the lining of the abdominal cavity, a condition referred to as peritonitis. Usually a CT scan is required to diagnose an abscess, and treatment usually requires a hospital stay, antibiotics administered through a vein and possibly drainage of the abscess.

    Repeated attacks of diverticulitis may require surgery to remove the affected portion of the colon.

    Bleeding in the colon may occur from a diverticulum and is called diverticular bleeding. This is the most common cause of major colonic bleeding in patients over 40 years old and is usually noticed as passage of red or maroon blood through the rectum. Most diverticular bleeding stops on its own; however, if it does not, a colonoscopy may be required for evaluation.

    If bleeding is severe or persists, a hospital stay is usually required to administer intravenous fluids or possibly blood transfusions. In addition, a colonoscopy may be required to determine the cause of bleeding and to treat the bleeding. Occasionally, surgery or other procedures may be necessary to stop bleeding that cannot be stopped by other methods.

    Intestinal blockage may occur in the colon from repeated attacks of diverticulitis. In this case, surgery may be necessary to remove the involved area of the colon.
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    The development of ‘diverticulitis’ implies inflammation of the segment of the colon (usually sigmoid colon) affected with diverticulosis (or diverticular disease). The acute episode is usually diagnosed based on the clinical findings of abdominal pain and tenderness combined with a CT scan of the abdomen that reveals the findings of inflammation of the colon. Once the inflammation has resolved, a colonoscopy is usually performed to evaluate the colon primarily to rule out the presence of other conditions particularly cancer that may mimic diverticulitis.

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    Because most people do not have symptoms, diverticulosis is often found incidentally during evaluation for another condition or during a screening exam for polyps. Gastroenterologists can directly visualize the diverticula (more than one pouch, or diverticulum) in the colon during a procedure that uses a small camera attached to a lighted, flexible tube inserted through the rectum.

    One of these procedures is a sigmoidoscopy, which uses a short tube to examine only the rectum and lower part of the colon. A colonoscopy uses a longer tube to examine the entire colon. Diverticulosis can also be seen using other imaging tests, for example by computed tomography (CT) scan or barium x-ray.
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    A , Gastroenterology, answered

    Most people can.

    About one of every three Americans will develop small pouches (diverticula) of the colon (diverticulosis) by age 60, and two of every three will have diverticulosis by age 85. Most people with diverticulosis don't have any symptoms from the condition unless they develop one of two complications: either rectal bleeding or inflammation, called diverticulitis.

    Diverticulitis is often mild and heals without treatment, but it can be potentially serious and require antibiotics, hospitalization, and sometimes surgery. The main symptom of diverticulitis is pain in the lower left side of the abdomen (the left lower quadrant). When diverticulitis is more serious, the pain is intense and can be accompanied by fever, soreness to the touch (tenderness) in the left lower quadrant of the belly, constipation, and vomiting. Sometimes, a little bright red blood can be seen in the stool.

    Doctors used to advise people with diverticulosis to avoid nuts, seeds, corn, and popcorn, since it was thought that they could get stuck in the diverticula and cause diverticulitis. However, there is no scientific evidence that this is true. Futhermore, a study published in the August 27, 2008 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association led by researcher Lisa L. Strate, MD, found that these fiber-containing foods may actually lower the risk of developing diverticulitis.

    So I advise patients with diverticulosis that there is not only no evidence of harm from eating these foods, there is scientific evidence of benefit. Still, some believe that these foods trigger their attacks of diverticulitis, so they should avoid them and try to get enough dietary fiber from other sources.

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    A , Gastroenterology, answered
    Diverticulosis is a condition where the colon develops little pockets (potholes) as a result of a diet that's relatively low in fiber and high in animal products. For most of my patients with diverticulosis, I recommend 1 or 2 heaping tablespoons of ground psyllium husk to help them reach their fiber intake target goal. Fiber cleans out the colon and the colon is one of the major routes for toxins to be expelled from the body. Having a good bowel movement is really the ultimate detox.

    When you reach that magic number of 35 grams of fiber, some amazing things start to happen. In addition to magnificent stools that drop effortlessly into the bowl, your risk for a lot of the other things that kill Americans -- many types of cancer, heart disease, diabetes and stroke -- all drop too. An apple (or two) a day really does keep the doctor away.